Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Saving the planet

Oh dear! The Green Barometer report from the Energy Saving Trust says Northern Ireland folk are lagging behind the rest of the UK when it comes to fighting for the planet.

According to the report, only 15% of us would scrap a holiday flight for environmental reasons, compared with a third UK-wide. Only 25% are making personal lifestyle changes, rather than 39%. And only 6% have used public transport instead of a car, while it's 12% in Scotland.

Well, there you are then - those selfish ratbags in Northern Ireland are holding back the altruistic Brits, demanding extravagant pleasures while everyone else is showing commendable restraint and safeguarding their children's future.

Er, sorry, but you've got us wrong again.

Could it be that we're more reluctant to shelve holiday flights because we don't have the convenient alternative of getting anywhere in Europe via Eurostar? And funnily enough we can't just catch the train to Wales, Cornwall or Yorkshire? Could it be that so-called holiday flights are actually visits to relatives in places like Scotland, Canada or Australia? Or should we just call them up and say "Sorry mum, the Planet says no"?

As for our thumbs-down for public transport, that's hardly surprising in a country full of small villages which don't generate enough potential passengers to make complex transport links viable. The buses amble through all sorts of picturesque locations, but seldom the ones we actually have in mind.

In fact we're as planet-friendly as the rest of the UK, if the measures suggested are practical and don't just make life more difficult. We recycle loads of household rubbish, we're very keen on fair trade, we're busy insulating our houses, and we buy local produce whenever we can.

But you wouldn't know it from the Green Barometer report, which asks the wrong questions, looks in the wrong directions and paints a totally false picture of the locals - and they won't be the last to do that.

See also: Plane Stupid

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